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How to Use a Polarizing Filter on a Camera

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

There are times when you see an amazing shot and take the picture, but the result is disappointing because light has bounced off reflective surfaces such as windows. The image is filled with unwanted reflections. If only there was a way to make sure the final shot was what you saw, not a mass of reflections and "flash spots". Well, there is a filter designed to do just that; its easy to use, not very expensive and it gives you control over all those reflections. Its the circular polarizing filter.

Things You Will Need

Camera (Digital or film)

Step 1

Check the front rim of your camera lens for a threaded lip. This is where filters are attached, and there should be a number printed somewhere nearby. This is the filter size in millimeters. For example, the number 58 means the filters for your camera will 58 mm filters.

Step 2

Purchase a circular polarizing filter of the correct size. You get what you pay for, as with everything else, but even the cheapest filter will work well under most circumstances. Gently twist the filter onto the front of the lens until it grips firmly.

Step 3

You will have noticed that the filter consists of two sheets of glass, both of which can be rotated. With the filter firmly attached to the camera, only the top sheet of glass is now able to rotate.

Step 4

Look through the camera view finder at a reflective object such as a sheet of glass of the surface of a lake. Slowly turn the top element of the filter and observe how the image changes. The effect is most noticeable when shooting at about 30 t0 40 degrees to the sun, but in any situation where there are reflections from glossy surfaces the filter will have an effect. Keep turning the filter until you have eliminated unwanted reflections, then take the picture.

Polarizers work by removing some of the light entering the camera lens. Normal light consists of waves at all sorts of angles, or "non-polarized" light. Light reflected from shiny surfaces is mainly angled in the same direction, and it it this "polarized" light that the filter blocks.

Tips & Warnings

Polarizers will also make the sky darker and help to highlight clouds.



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